by Lina Taylor
Belinda gets into a world of perfection. Would she survive?
|This essay deals with problems faced by teenagers nowadays – constant teasing, eating disorders. Please comment and feel free to correct anything wrong in this essay or what you think would be better. Thank you :D
“You’re fat.” That was what everyone told me when I just started my first year in Raffles Girls’ Secondary School. Well, by “everyone”, I meant the popular students. Because they were so popular, they could easily influence everyone to think the same way as they did. Therefore, they count as everyone. At first, I did not take much notice of those insults. Personally, I did not think I was fat, maybe slightly on the plumb side, but still not fat. But without really realizing, those comments had always stuck in my mind.
Soon, I started comparing my body figure with others and it was not long before I realised I was fatter than almost everyone in school. I was an outcast. It had always been rumoured that the students of Raffles Girls’ were almost perfect, somewhat like robots. They were pretty, slim and smart whereas I was not. The popular students noticed that and thus started teasing me about it. Sometimes they said I was as fat as a beach ball, and other times, they compared their light weights and their beautiful figures right in front of me just to spite me.
Day after day, the teasing went on. It was like a trend. Everyone started doing it even the cafeteria ladies. Even though they made it subtle, but I could still feel the pinch. They would give everyone a small portion of rice but when it came to my turn, they would nod at me knowingly and slap an extra bowl of rice onto the plate before I could say anything. This incident always happened and it constantly made everyone laugh at me.
One day, the same thing happened once again, when it came to my turn to receive my lunch, the cafeteria lady asked, “Oh hi, Belinda! Would you like more rice?” “Of course she wants more rice. She has that big, round stomach to fill up!” someone immediately whispered from behind my back and everyone started laughing again. This time, I could not take it anymore. I elbowed everyone out of the way and ran towards the washroom. I used my hands to cover my ears, attempting to block out the ceaseless chants that followed my every step. Hot tears flowed down my cheeks. I locked the cubicle door once I got into the washroom, sat cross-legged on the toilet seat and wept a silent tear.
I was choked with tears. Fat, fat, fat, that was the only word I was known for. They were blinded when it came to my good points like doing pretty well in my studies. But when it was about my bad points, everyone was present, every ear was listening, and every eye was looking. I was in the depths of misery. I sat on the toilet trying to recall why did I ever enter this school in the first place? In a flash, I remembered.
“Darling, you could always enter a school where you would not have too much stress, schools of your standard. You don’t have to force yourself to enter Raffles Girls’ School, the best school in the country, to make me happy,” my mum said. “It’s okay. I want to go to a school of higher standard so that I can push myself to do better,” I replied.
“It’s okay. I want to go to a school of higher standard so that I can push myself to do better,” I mimicked myself in a high pitched voice. “Ha! How do I like it now being teased all the time? How foolish can I get? When will this teasing ever end? Dad, how could you leave Mum? Mum, why do you need to travel all the time, leaving me to bottle up my problems all to myself? Why is my life so miserable?” I unfurled the roll of toilet paper and tore out more paper to wipe my tears.
Suddenly, I heard someone enter the washroom. I held my breath and listen closely. “Did you see how fast that fat girl, Belinda, ran? Oh my god, it was hilarious! She could almost enter the track team! Note the word “almost”. She can’t possibly win any trophies with her fats. Anyway, she’s probably in some toilet crying herself out now. Typical. She’s so fat, when she jumps, she causes an earthquake. I can’t wait to see the look of her pathetic face when she gets back to class!” Someone giggled. Upon hearing that, I gasped and then covered my mouth instantly, hoping they did not hear me. Unfortunately, they seemed to have heard what I did as they stopped talking. After a few whispers, I heard the click of the door as it closed. At that moment, I was determined to end my misery. I was going to lose weight.
During the next few weeks, I reduced the amount of food I eat by a little. Even though I had the urge to eat more like I usually do, I resisted the temptation. After many weeks of hard work, I managed to lose a kilogram. Overjoyed that my diet was working, I continued this diet by eating less and less everyday. It was not long before I lost a couple more kilograms. Over time, the weight loss became a sign of mastery and control. Soon, I stopped having recess and lunch altogether and only ate for dinner. Even then, I only ate a plate of salad and some fruit. The drive to become thinner grew stronger. I was encouraged to eat less when the popular students casually remarked, “Someone’s getting thinner, yo.” Even so, I would always look in the mirror and feel that I was still not thin enough. I had a constant fear that I would become fat again and everyone would laugh at me.
I continued the endless cycle of restrictive eating in order to feel a sense of control over the body. With that sense of control, I felt that I could do anything. Not only did I want to strive for a perfect body figure, I also wanted to top the level in my studies. I wanted to please my teachers, my family and even my schoolmates. I wanted to prove to them that I could be as good as anyone.
One day during lunch, I was sitting in the canteen reading a book to pass time when a classmate asked me, “Hey. May I ask you something?” I nodded. She continued, “Um, are you anorexic?” I froze and then shook my head. The classmate looked unsure. To prove that point, I went to buy a bowl of noodles and started eating until the classmate walked away. I then quickly threw the half-eaten bowl of noodles in to the bucket of used dishes and ran into the toilet. Without my control, I threw up. It was probably because I had never eaten that much food in a long time. I supported myself by leaning against the sink. I looked at myself in the mirror. “Are you anorexic?” The question circled around my head relentlessly. The confusion and stress caused me to puke again. I asked myself, “Am I?”
Back in the class, I tried to concentrate on the lessons but could not. I kept dozing off. I still felt sick from eating all those noodles and to add to the weight, I had not slept well since the start of my diet.
When I got home that day, I went to the gymnasium and ran on the track mill in attempt to get rid of the pain in my head caused by the confusion. I ran and ran, slowly increasing the speed of the track mill. I knew there were many people waiting impatiently for their turn to use the track mill but I did not care. Finally, after what seems like hours, I collapsed as darkness enveloped my vision.
I woke up to find a circle of gymnasium users staring at me. For no particular reason, I felt angry and irritated. I shouted, “What are you people staring at me for?! Don’t be such a busybody! I know you think I’m fat right? All of you people thinks I’m fat. EVERYONE!” I got up and ran home.
I jumped on to my bed, covered myself with the duvet and cried myself to sleep.
When I woke up, I immediately went into the toilet and undressed as I wanted to take a shower to wash away all my trouble. I looked at myself in the mirror and accidentally saw that my skin was yellow, dry and flaky. I even had new fine, downy hair all over my body. I ignored what I had witnessed and climbed into the bathtub filled with hot water…
Ring! I reached out for my cell phone and answered the call only to hear my mother’s voice. She just came back from her 2-month business trip in America and would be back for dinner. After the call, I drained all the water from the bathtub and took a shower. But something weird happened while I was washing my hair. Plenty of my hair fell off! Just watching a bunch of my hair floating on the water freaked me out. I heard the doorbell ring so I dried myself, dressed and went to greet my mother.
At the dining table, my mother frowned, “Belinda, you look much thinner than before.” I nodded as I pushed my salad around with my fork, “And why are you eating only salad for dinner?” “Just feeling healthy,” I answered. “But Belinda, you looked really sick and tired and extremely thin. You can’t possibly lose that much weight in 2 months! You were never cared about your weight. There can only be one reason…oh my god! Are you anorexic??” my mother asked anxiously. I slam my fork down and screamed at her, “Are you going to let me eat or are you going to continue asking those stupid questions! It’s not like you really care about me!” I stomped off into my room without finishing my dinner. My mother just sat there quietly.
My mother was sitting on my bed when I woke up from my sleep the next day. I looked at the time. It was ten in the morning on a school day! I curiously looked at my mother. As if she read my mind, she said, “You looked so tired and sick so I allowed you to sleep longer and miss school. I’m bringing you to the clinic later.” I did not want to go but my mother insisted.
When we went to the clinic, the doctor told my mother that I was severely underweight and that I might be suffering from Anorexia Nervosa. After endless words about my problems, the doctor finally advised me to visit a psychologist and a psychiatrist to solve my problems. My mother looked at me and nodded at the doctor.
My mother made an appointment with a psychologist. I was really afraid and angry at the same time. I did not want to go. I was not mentally ill or sick in any way, why should I visit a psychologist? I was definitely not suffering from anorexia, it was all in their head!
On the day of the appointment, I begged my mother not to make me go, and when she refused, I screamed at her for forcing me to go against my will. When we showed up I was ready to hate my psychologist and show my mother how pointless this was.
And then I actually met the psychologist and found out he was not such a bad person. He was there to help me — not to report back to my parents, not to have me committed to a mental institution, not to force any action at all — just to talk.
So we talked. Over the next few months, we discussed about what caused me to become anorexic and what was causing all my problems. I told him I was constantly being teased and I wanted to fit in and that somehow, after a few months, I just wanted to be thinner and thinner and did not think sensibly that I was underweight and not fat at all. My psychologist suggested I see a psychiatrist who would be able to prescribe medication to help me. Although when we first met I said I would not go on medication, I was so ready to be myself again that I willingly agreed.
With my psychiatrist's recommendation and prescription, I started to eat more by the day, increasing my food consumption gradually. My psychiatrist even made me a time table as for when to eat, what to eat and how much. I also visited the psychologist to share all my problems and worries so that I would not get depressed.
In a few months, I was back to normal. I ate and exercised moderately. I was of a healthy weight and was fit.
Experiencing this ordeal made me realized how important it was just to believe in myself and I should not care what other people think of me as long as I was confident of myself. My mother transferred me to another school, somewhere that I could fit in better. I made many friends and was self-contented. I was finally happy.